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RS300 Sprint Championship & Rooster National Tour Event 2 at Rutland Sailing Club

by Paul Watson 26 Apr 10:00 BST 21-22 April 2018
RS300 fleet in action at RS Sprint Championship 2018 © Peter Fothergill

For England's largest (by surface area) reservoir Rutland Water is a shifty place. Or at least is was during the RS300 sprint championships which were held over the weekend of 21st-22nd April. Saturday dawned and greeted nine boats to compete for the 13th, unlucky for some, Sprint Championships.

The first unlucky sailor was Harry McVicar. Harry, who is normally fighting for a podium, started his event with no less than four DNCs having failed to turn up until the evening meal was well underway in the pub. Normally this sort of commitment to drinking would be commended but unfortunately you don't get any discards at the sprints, which all but wrote off his chances.

Back to the sailing... Day 1 gave us a pleasant, if a little light, breeze and glorious sunshine. Those who heeded the advice layered up the sunscreen before heading out for four races back-to-back lasting roughly 25 minutes each, I'm sure these sprint races get longer each year. After four tight races it was Steve Sallis who took the overnight lead having managed to slip away in all but one race. Everyone else had been busy changing places and sat within a couple of points of each other on the leader board.

Boats were quickly changed to bar stools as the evening took hold. The fleet's yearly visit to the Wheatsheaf ended by watching a passing thunderstorm under the warm glow of Paul Watson's sunburnt arms.

Sunday would be a day where little mistakes would not go unpunished. Fortunately for some we got them out of the way early. None earlier than Rich Le Mare who actually got his swim out of the way on Saturday. He must have known something the rest of us didn't... Luckily for both Watson and Tom Moore (x2) they got their dips out of the way before the racing started. Which for Watson, at least, woke him up enough to remember how to sail the boat again. The next unlucky victim was Alastair Wood whose dip in Race 5 allowed a beaming Cheryl Wood to come through in her 'A' rig to take her first scalp at an RS300 event.

Going into the final race of the series Watson had taken advantage of the slightly stronger breeze and put himself marginally ahead of Sallis. Knowing that he needed a good result in the last race Sallis went off like a train from the starting line, putting a couple of boats between himself and Watson, before the approach to the first mark where a slightly over enthusiastic tack saw his mast hit the water and with it his hopes at this year's title.

By the bottom of the first run Watson had now retaken the lead and played a safe second beat up the middle, losing out only to Mark Cooper who came in from the left with good speed to take the lead into the last run. He held to the finish to claim his first race win on the RS300 circuit and became the sixth of nine sailors to take a win over the course of the weekend! How's that for close racing! Watson crossed the line a boat length further back in second, enough to claim this year's title.

The weekend was finished off with tea, coffee and snacks from the excellent Rutland galley team and prize giving courtesy of this year's National Tour sponsors Rooster Sailing. Our next event is in just under two weeks at Bristol Corinthian YC, with prizes that are likely to involve cheese or cider this could be a hotly contested event. See you there!

Overall Results:

Rank Class Sail No Helm Rig R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Total Nett
1st RS300 528 Paul Watson B 2 4 3 5 2 2 1 1 3 2 25 25
2nd RS300 476 Steve Sallis B 1 2 1 1 6 3 6 6 2 6 34 34
3rd RS300 555 Richard Le Mare B 3 7 2 4 3 1 7 7 4 4 42 42
4th RS300 500 Pete Ellis B 4 1 4 6 5 6 3 5 5 5 44 44
5th RS300 525 Mark Cooper B 7 5 6 2 4 5 5 8 6 1 49 49
6th RS300 523 Harry McVicar   DNC DNC DNC DNC 1 4 2 2 1 3 53 53
7th RS300 519 Thomas Moore B 5 3 5 7 7 7 8 3 7 7 59 59
8th RS300 422 Alastair Wood   6 6 7 3 8 8 4 4 9 8 63 63
9th RS300 339 Cheryl Wood A 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 8 9 85 85

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